Mas Music Records Label Launches at The Electric Church

Last Sunday, Mas Music Records held their official soft launch at east Austin’s psychedelic wonderland, The Electric Church. The evening featured an assortment of Austin’s brightest…and Hell…also, darkest psychedelic artists including Count Vaseline, Peyote Coyote, Christian Bland & The Revelators and Hollow Trees.

Record label founder and possibly the world’s fastest booking agent, Michele Mas Martin, always wanted to own a record label. When she found herself in Austin, a town with endless musical talent and very few labels, she saw the perfect opportunity. Inspired by a Facebook article about Portland’s Little Cloud Records, Martin reached out to Houston’s Wallflower Records founder Corey Savage who basically walked her through the process of setting up a record label in the Lone Star State.

From that point, Martin put her dream into action. “One night I asked Bob Mustachio of Hollow Trees, ‘If I start a record label will you let me put out some vinyl for you?’” recalls Martin. “Hell yeah!” he replied. “So then I knew I had the golden egg and the goose. It took me a while to figure out a name, but once my amazing friend Billie Buck came back with the logo… I knew I had made the right choice.”

By chance, Martin ran into Irish psychedelic-pop artist Stefan Murphy (Count Vaseline) at Desert Daze. “I lived in Belfast for a few years, and we had so many close friends in common that it was an immediate upgrade to “pal for life,” admits Martin. “We just clicked immediately and when we reconnected in Austin we decided to join forces and start throwing cool showcases.”The pair both have strong ties to Europe and Ireland and bring a different sort of vibe to the Texas music scene.

With Mas Music Records now fully up and rolling Martin is learning the hardest part of owning a record label is getting the art finished and then making sure it sounds as good as possible for vinyl production. The label is currently working to have three 7” vinyl albums (Hollow Trees, Peyote Coyote and The Sun Machine) out before Levitation in April.

“I think Stef and I have some cool ideas and we definitely have a lot of passion and energy,” admits Martin. “It feels like everything is coming together without much effort. I’m feeling very lucky.”

The pair will be throwing a two-day HOUSE of MAGICK party with two other labels (Yippie Kay Yay & Wallflower) during St. Patrick’s Day weekend. There will be an assortment of fantastic artists, visuals and band merchandise all showcasing a lot of great local and visiting talent.

Martin may be extremely busy right about now. But, she remains grateful to where it all began. “In the end, none of this would have ever happened without The Electric Church. They’ve created a special place where everyone can be themselves and have a great time.”

Keep your eyes peeled for Martin and Mas Music Records over the next few months. Something tells me they’re going to be making some serious psychedelic noise. In the meantime, enjoy the visuals below from the Mas Music Record Launch at The Electric Church.

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Photos by: Demetrius Judkins @wolfspiritofthesun and Valerie Riels @photo.atx

Clever Heads Prevail Bring the Heat to Swan Dive

On a brisk Thursday night Red River’s Swan Dive became the evening’s home to First Time in Color, Denizens, and Clever Heads Prevail. The chilly weather couldn’t keep a warm and welcoming crowd away, however.

The night begins with First Time in Color, a 4-piece outfit from Austin that specializes in indie-rock with dance-pop sensibilities. Holding down the middle set, Denizens take the stage with their aggressive ambiance, tinted with jazz and funk. Finally, San Marcos’ Clever Heads Prevail finish up the night with their southern-blues rock, captivating the crowd with an inclusive reach that spans across many genres.

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Boasting a Killers t-shirt, First Time in Color vocalist/bassist E.Z. Maldonado awakens the Swan Dive crowd with a demand for noise. In an excited response, the crowd jumps and dances to the beat of drummer Alex La Fuente. Most songs resemble a heart-on-the-sleeve mentality with a passionate release from Maldonado and his bandmates. Heavy drums, velvet bass lines, thick keys and catchy guitar riffs inject the crowd with pure adrenaline, giving off enough energy to keep the party going all night. Guitarist Rix Landa proves to be the melodic centerpiece, providing a steady flow of fast-paced, groovy riffs. Most characterized by their possessive chords and radio-rock style, the quartet’s dance-ready sound makes for a memorable set. As they finish, Maldonado hints at a new album in the works.

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The Denizen’s concept of aggressive percussion striking against an ambient noisescape created a sense of intimacy in the room. Vocalist Chris Michael’s dramatic flair fills the venue and the room bursts alive in response to the group’s dynamic, polyrhythmic and color-filled art-noise. Soaring notes guide a frenzied chorus of melodies and this band is all about intense chordal structures interweaving with trance-inducing rhythms and thought-provoking trends. After bassist Kyle Garcia’s string breaks, a helpful Maldonado loans out his bass in an act of camaraderie. “Life doesn’t prepare you for a broken bass string,” Michael attests. Soon thereafter, the group was back to their craft.

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Closing out the night, Clever Heads Prevail took to the stage with friends and fans surrounding them. Vocalist Jose Jimenez is met by cheers as he adorns a cowboy hat and introduces the quartet. It’s as if an angry Mac Demarco began a folk-rock band. Each member bears a grin as they relentlessly rock in perfect tune with each other. The San Martians specialize in a cascading form that guarantees intimacy. As they perform their latest single, “Mumbles,” the group finds a home on the stage. Sprinkles of fans can be seen mouthing along. Ever-so-talented, guitarist Micah Krejcha offers a slew of frenzied solos through the show, wowing even the doorman. From math-rock to heavy blues, Clever Heads Prevail can do it all. Check out the show highlights below.

First Time In Color 

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Denizens

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Clever Heads Prevail

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Article by: Sawyer Click
Photos by: Valerie Riels @photo.atx
Photos and Video by: Mark Bowers @markbowersphoto

Sofar Sounds Austin and an Afternoon of Americana

Sofar Sounds Austin beat out last weekend’s ‘Icemaggedon’ by 24 hours to deliver a perfect afternoon of live and local Americana music. The private south Austin event featured performances by indie-folk songwriter Scott Collins with support from Bleached Roses frontwoman Lexi Cardenas as well as showcases form Americana folker and camper enthusiast B.R. Lively and the always glamorous Caleb De Casper. Guests were treated to grilled burgers and dogs while they mingled and enjoyed the cozy home atmosphere. Even the furry fans got to enjoy the afternoon as two tuxedo-collared perros frolicked around the joyful crowd. Check out a few of the event highlights below.

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Photos by: Anie Walsh @aniewalshphotography

#WomenCrush This Month With A Kick-Off Event On The 25th

Bringing a little more love to the streets of Austin, #WomenCrush has landed and has plans to revolutionize the music industry. A campaign designed to bring women together and re-ignite the love within the industry, this is a plan to unshackle women in a male-dominated industry.

Officially a ‘non-profit’, Austin’s very own kick-off event is approaching on the 25th of this month. Hosted at One-2-One bar, the movement will feature the likes of Lucy Bergin, Chakra, and The Honey Trap and it is more than a gig; it’s empowerment.

Adara Ostdiek is the Chapter Leader for #WomenCrush in Austin, and takes pride in what the growing campaign stands for – her own project, Sedona Skies, is amongst the line up next Thursday too.

“When I first moved to Austin back in 2016 I was desperately looking for a music community to be a part of,” she said, “when you’re a part of #WomenCrush, not only are you part of a community here in Austin, you’re also part of a large community that spans internationally.”

A campaign first launched in January of 2017 in Portland Oregon, it owes its conception to Ashley Kervabon. A keen eye and an unfortunately not-so-subtle reality revealed a subsidence in the familial strength amongst women in the music industry, and she soon realized this was industry-wide and not confined to her state.

“Ashley reached out to friends in her hometown of NYC to start her expansion there,” Adara explains, “After New York, Nashville quickly followed, then came Vancouver, BC.

“Before long, she was receiving emails every day from artists all over the USA and Canada asking how they could perform at a showcase and be a part of #WomenCrush.”

Come Fall of 2017, the campaign had already reached 13 cities across the United States and had plans to continue in the new year – making a home in the likes of Austin, Los Angeles, Chicago and more.

“I was very excited to get the opportunity to handpick the ladies for our first showcase,” Adara gushed, “I feel very fortunate that I’m surrounded by so much female talent here in Austin. All of these artists are relatively new to the scene and I think they all have amazing songs and voices that deserve to be showcased!”

Combining the voices of some of the under-represented new acts, the campaign also runs workshops to teach important life skills; emancipating women from the chained limitations the music industry can impose. Taught by female industry professionals, they strive to push for the success of the participants.

“People will try and tell you that in order to be successful as a woman you need act and perform a certain way to attract listeners.

“I hope young girls see our artists performing and supporting each other and understand that you will become successful in the industry by working hard and authentically expressing yourself through your music.

“#WomenCrush Music strives to showcase local talent, providing educational resources and building a global community we will elevate female artists around the world.”

Check out how you can get involved {here}, and find tickets for the kick-off event {here}.

 

Kalu & The Electric Joint Unwind With Time Undone

Inspired by a return home to Nigeria to mourn the loss of his father, soul singer/songwriter Kalu James has resurfaced with a new group, album, and purpose. Led by the rich timbre of James’ soulful tenor, Kalu & the Electric Joint have released Time Undone – a nine-track venture into loss and defying the underdog stigma.

A solo-artist by origin, James originally made a name for himself with his residency at Austin’s Continental Club. During this time, he released four solo albums that helped to define his Afro-funk-motivated blues sound. James’ time in Nigeria, however, left him a bit lost – unsure at times if he wanted to come back home. James did return to Austin and brought back a renovated spirit that was determined to succeed.

Enter the Electric Joint, the fantastic completion of James’ sound. Consisting of guitarist Jonathan “JT” Holt and drummer John Speice (Grupo Fantasma, Ocote Soul Sounds, Brownout), the instrumental powerhouses add wide-level dramatics with a flourishing blend of varying effects, instruments, and influences.

From the heavy fuzz of “Too Low to Get High” to the fusing of southern blues and African rhythms in “Testify,” the trio explore the plains of American and West African sounds. The large-scale influences ameliorate the core heavy-blues sounds of the group rather than oversaturating the album with meaningless dives.

Holt’s energetic American rock-and-blues guitar melodies push a southern rock sound akin to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton. “Get It Right” features a solo from Holt that is fueled by distortion and American soul. In contrast to the liveliness of “Get It Right,” “Sea of Life” features a dialed-down and focused Holt, shining through simplicity.
No need to fight it / I am here to stay,” begins “Stay.” While the entire album centralizes around the idea of fighting for what you want and not backing down, “Stay” is the concentrated proclamation. James’ refined voice is put to work on this track, using layers of different effects and notes to fill the soundscape.

The blending of each of the trio’s talents feeds into the charisma of the thirty-minute LP. Pure musicianship and personality play into the group’s dynamic, which more than definitely shows a fully-realized Kalu & the Electric Joint. Laced with an indescribable quality that begs for continual listening, Time Undone is very well done.

Check out the photos below from Kalu & The Electric Joint’s Saturday show at The Mohawk along with a sample of what Time Undone has to offer.

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Article by: Sawyer Click

Photos by: Demetrius Judkins @wolfspiritofthesun

BTS With SHEiLAVA on the “Cheers” Video Shoot

What better way to spend a beautiful Sunday morning than hanging with our favorite alternative-pop band? The wonderful folks of SHEiLAVA were nice enough to allow us to tag-along while they shot footage for their upcoming “Cheers” music video. The band, consisting of Sheila V.A., Jason Garcia, Mike DeWitt, Alex Kane and Mike Krieger (not pictured), wrote “Cheers” on the eve of NYE 2017 as part of a Facebook Live challenge. Sheila V.A. and Jason Garcia wrote the majority of the song in less than six hours with frequent live updates to social media as they orchestrated each lyric, melody, harmony, and instrument.  Keep your eyes pealed, the video will be here very soon. In the meantime, enjoy the behind the scene photos below captured by Valerie Riels.

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Photos by: Valerie Riels @photo.atx

Clever Heads Prevail Break Through With “Mumbles”

An alt-rock sensation that screams for clarity and truthfulness, Clever Heads Prevail have released their single, “Mumbles.” For fans of the Artic Monkeys, Royal Blood and Bloc Party, the bilingual track explores the realization of deceit on a societal level. The San Marcos quartet are set to release their debut album, Mumbles, in early-February.

Mastered by Ed Brooks of Resonate Mastering, a defining mix of distorted and special effects create an ever-so-smooth release of tension as the song cascades into complex rhythms, culminating around. The track criticizes the ill-intent and mass-delusion of the world, critiquing a never-ending thirst and bottomless lies.

Track Rambler had an opportunity to sit down with Clever Heads Prevail vocalist/guitarist Jose Jimenez to talk about “Mumbles.”

Track Rambler: What does “Mumbles” mean for the band? Is it the next step?
Jose Jimenez: Well, “Mumbles” really took a lot of patience and time. We genuinely really loved the sound that we were creating. We all really appreciate that song and everything that we did with it. A lot of creativity was put in on all four of our fronts. To clarify, the drummer behind “Mumbles” is Eric Puente. Jacob is the current drummer that we have now, but Eric helped us write the entire album, “Mumbles” included. We have an album coming out soon, by the way.

TR: Early February, right?
JJ: Yeah, we’re working for early February. It’s called Mumbles as well.

TR: What does “Mumbles” mean thematically?
JJ: A lot of it, especially lyrically, is about hope. It’s to break through the mumbles of the masses and the lack of concrete words. The lyrics in “Mumbles” specifically speak to that, but the album holds true to that message as well. We were breaking through uncertainty and concepts that aren’t entirely tangible.

TR: What’s your favorite track from the upcoming album?
JJ: My personal favorite would be “What Is Right.” We have a mixtape version of that on Bandcamp.

TR: The track seems to act as a battleground between two different concepts: the good and the bad.
JJ: Lyrically, a lot of what I talk about is polarized. There are two very distinct positions and each one is pitted against the other. Ultimately, through my lyrics, I’ve really tried to push for hope and positivity. I want to say that even though there are these cases in which you have something pushing against you so hard, the power to be positive and to endure is there and that you will emerge better having gone through it. In “Mumbles,” the last “¡Yo prieto, Yo! ¡Lucharé!” translates in English to “I, the dark man, will continue to fight.” That’s the persona of a man fighting against the world and the deceit. The song is very much a detailed depiction of what one man says and what he really means. It is about intentions against the action.

TR: On intentions, what was the driving force behind having the two different languages?
JJ: I guess you could say that it reveals two personas, but the languages came out because it was natural to me. That was where I found strength and where I could hone in on something that I know would be genuine. I was allowed to articulate that emotion and passion through Spanish.

TR: Where did you guys record the album at?
JJ: We recorded at the Texas Recording Conservatory of Austin. Virginia Haladyna was our producer. We’ve worked with her on “That Life You Think You Got Pt. 1.” She tracked, mixed and mastered most of the tracks.

You can catch Clever Head Prevail next at Swan Dive on Jan. 18.

 

Article by: Sawyer Click

Lolita Lynne Shines Bright With Fool’s Moon

Lolita Lynne creates a totally chilled out, daydream soundtrack during her latest EP, Fool’s Moon. Her simplistic approach to making genuine, heartfelt music is humbling and a pure pleasure to wind down with.

With a distinctive twist on 60’s style psychedelic pop, the homemade vibes evoked through her earthy vocals give the hint of a subtle indie feel, creating a sound authentically modern.

Lolita’s track “Enslaved“, featuring Yvonne Lambert, is utterly funky, cheeky and screams sunshine vibes. Just like her tracks “Fool’s Moon” and “I Won’t“, the songs are truly jazzed up, sounding just like something you’d hear in a coffee shop or a luxury hotel lounge. It’s a sign the music is all about relaxation. The instrumentals are simplistic and consistent, but intertwined with her effortlessly soft vocals it’s dreamy. When her deep and cryptic lyrics are combined with distorted strings during “Human“, lines like “please forgive me I’m not worthy” become hair raising.

Through a combination of jazzy toe tapping tunes and enchanting lyrics, Lolita reveals her story and lets her personality flow through Fool’s Moon. The soothing purity of her sound is impeccably engaging creating the perfect laze soundtrack for the end of the day.

 

Written by: Beth Judge

The Texas KGB Bring The Heat to One-2-One!

A spine-tingling, North Georgia breeze blew in and it was a “Lil’ Cold” at One-2-One Bar on Monday night. But, inside the South Austin venue, the whisky was good and the soothing harmonies of the The Texas KGB were soul warming.

Austin’s very own ‘Original Americana’ band has been putting in work since the release of their third studio album, Welcome Home, throwing down one jaw-dropping performance after another. Monday at One-2-One was absolutely no exception for the Kelly Green-led quartet.

Although the band wears the ‘Kelly Green Band’ moniker, the charismatic and captivating frontwoman is hardly the KGB’s lone star. Every member contributed to the songwriting of Welcome Home with each one stealing the spotlight at One-2-One as lead duties continuously swapped from song-to-song.

Rhythm guitarist/vocalist Jace Cadle opened-up with “Where The Wind Blows“, a heartfelt country song that showcases the singer’s vulnerable ruggedness while Green warmed up the amps with her first of many elaborate, string-strangling solos. Green then kicked the doors wide open with an electrifying, blues-drenched rendition of “Frangela” that had the entire band bouncing around the stage before setting flight with the soaring harmonies of bassist Violet Lea’s passionate “Where Does Love Go”. I was completely caught off guard by this seemingly stoic and reserved minx behind the bass as she transformed into a vocal lioness with a ferocious 30-mile roar.

The band’s set voyaged from outlaw country and southern blues to blazing classic rock and deep roots Americana with Green receiving ample space to stretch out each track with head-whipping, hair-flipping guitar solos. I barley noticed an hour had passed before the band went deep in those nostalgic Georgia woods to find “Welcome Home”, a personal favorite that builds and cascades with even taller peaks and deeper valleys when performed live. The Texas KGB shut it down with Green channeling a righteous inner-Joplin on the bluesy, vocal screeching “Funk 69”. The entire set sent chills down the body and right back up the spine.

Speaking of Joplin, for fans of Port Arthur’s legendary rockstar, might I suggest checking out Cari Hutson. The vocalist and her backing band Good Company opened for the KGB at One-2-One delivering a groovy performance blending blues and rock with a little bit of country and pop splashed with a few Joplin covers. I was only fortunate enough to catch the last half of Cari Hutson and Good Company’s opening set. But, this is absolutely a band now circled on my calendar. Check out the show photos below and be sure to catch The Texas KGB during their reoccurring monthly residency all year at One-2-One Bar.

The Texas KGB

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Cari Hutson and Good Company

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Photos by: Demetrius Judkins @wolfspiritofthesun

Summer Fires Shed Some Hefty Weight With Debut EP

It doesn’t take long to get to the root of Summer Fires debut EP, Without A Word. Anger, angst and acceptance drown the album’s seven introspective tracks creating a beautiful mess of emotions all brought to life through intricate indie-rock ballads and dark-pop ambiance.

Produced by Grammy-nominated Chris “Frenchie” Smith, Without A Word speaks to brooding romances, learning to accept failures and moving forward with life. The album’s heavy tone is established with the anti-romantic title track as lead vocalist J.P. Welsh’s clarion vocals reflect over falling prisoner to a debilitating relationship…“One of those romances where one party wants it much more than the other,” he says. The addition of Eden Welpy’s backing vocals provide a duality to the emotive track making it relatable from either party’s perspective.

Without A Word doesn’t let up from there. “Coming Down” and “Last Four Hours” both describe how toxic relationships can spill over into other areas of life. The synchronized key taps of the album’s lead single, “Coming Down”, succumb to jarring percussion, fuzzy, arena-rock chords and a Tool-ish, new-metal darkness while “Last Four Hours” takes more of a 90’s alternative approach to the weighty subject matter. The album’s progressive turning point is reached in the episodic “Wait.Wait.Wait” in which Welsh becomes an outside narrator telling a story about a girl stuck in a bad place. “Throughout the course of the song, her fear turns into anger and she pushes back,” he says.

The album’s most upbeat and carefree portion comes in “The Drive”, a borderline post-punk track about jumping in head first, without hesitation or self-doubt. The band branches into fuzzy indie-pop with “Here Tonight” to deliver a strong message of self-honesty and living in the moment before their grandiose conclusion in “The Dream We Had,” an atmospheric and heavy-hearted track written as a tribute to a good friend who lost his battle with cancer.

Summer Fires throws around some serious weight with their debut EP. It’s evident there was a distinct purpose and message the band wanted to deliver when they set their poetry in motion and that message is clearly conveyed from start to finish. The material is heavy but inclusive and far reaching and the band should find a large audience as most listeners will know the emotions behind Without A Word all too well.

The Official Without A Word EP Release Party will be on Thursday, Jan. 18 at Stubb’s Indoors with support from The Cuckoos and Matt Gilmour.

 

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